Monday, June 27, 2016

The solution for a small, brown one

I've been meaning to give an update on Daisy following my post on her driving us up the walls. Things we definitely getting bad there for awhile, with both cats whining constantly to get outside. Even Martha could hear them, which meant it was time for action.

A few years ago, Grey showed me this article from the NY Times about Catios. Both of us immediately got excited about the idea of outdoor enclosures where both Jaxson and Daisy could hang out undisturbed and made plans to convert one of the balconies into a catio. But then infertility got the better of us, combined with fears of unsafe neighbors using the catio to access our unit. And so the idea went to the wayside.

What brought me back to the article was a comment by JaneB about a cat cage. "Cat cage?" I thought. And immediately started investigating this option. Before long, I found a solution, made a case to Grey that this would save our sanity and the purchase was made.

Just to be clear, this isn't a perfect solution. Daisy loathes being locked up in any way, crying repeatedly until she is released. But the result is a million times better than before. Jaxson now has access to the deck and will spend all morning (and evening) out there happily watching critters. Daisy, though unhappy about lock up, also seems to get her fill from being outside and I do let her roam free on the deck with supervision, reminding her that escape is not an option.

This has resulted in two cats who now come indoors and happily lounge around without making a peep.

And two quiet, sleepy cats means Grey is no longer at the end of his rope with them. In fact, their relationship with all the humans is healing.

We're also now a neighborhood conversation starter, with people wondering if the cage will expand into an elaborate enclose, similar to the ones seen all over the internet.

JaneB, if you're reading this: Thank you. You reminded me to think outside the box on this issue. We are indebted to your wisdom.

#MicroblogMondays: Linen and Pearls

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

On Saturday, Grey and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. It was a strange day as it was pretty much any other weekend day. That evening, though, we hired a sitter to watch the Beats so we could go out to dinner and have some one-on-one time. Martha generously gifted us with some money towards the cause and made it clear she would be available if anything arose while we were out. Did I mention how much I adore this woman?

Dinner was wonderful. Grey and I haven't had a night to just be with one another without distractions is such a long time. Grey set the mood for the evening by surprising me with a small bottle of perfume and insisted we both dress up a bit for the night out. He had made reservations at a local restaurant that specialized in higher-end cuisine and was very thoughtful with ordering so that we would have a memorable experience. We talked candidly about all that has happened over the last year: about our fears, our disappointments, our hopes and our goals. It was much needed time away.

Near the end of dinner, I was fishing for my phone to make sure no urgent messages had been sent when I came upon some treasured mementos from past dates together. Marveling at these, Grey and I talked more about memories and years past. Remembering all the adventures and wonderful times we have had together. Remembering also the bright spots during times of pain, which we wouldn't have without each other.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: the blahs after the storm

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Sluggish. That's how I've been feeling following a month of terrible news. 

First we were hit with the unexpected realization of a badly worded resale certificate, resulting in a roller coaster in the real estate world.

Then we got more news that hit us on a financial front.

Following that came the explosion following the Brock Turner rape case.

Then Orlando.

And finally an alligator attack and news in this community about much wanted children lost too soon.

By Friday all my body wanted to do was sleep. Sleep to heal. Sleep to find peace as me being conscious wasn't bringing any.

Growing up, I remember venturing out into the world following a severe storm. People would cautiously pick their way through the debris, assessing the damage and making note of what was salvageable. But what I also remember is a sense of slowness that would come. Some referred to it as the calm and make note of the peace that had finally returned. But that never felt right. Instead it was a period of blah; a moment where "why do I care?" seemed to be on everyone's lips. 

A tipping point.

Walking out into the world today, I still feel that tipping point. Those moments where others seem to walk through a haze of not knowing to care. My body still feels it too. 

And I wonder, what will be the rally call to dispense of these blahs?  What will wake the world up from the numbness of the pain? Usually there are multiple messages. The question is, which one will win out?

Monday, June 13, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Learning to dance in the rain

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."
~Vivian Greene

There's been a lot of rain clouds lately. Rain clouds in intimate areas of my life and rain clouds in world events. So many are hurting today. Grey and I are shouldering that pain on top of our own uncertainty.

In the midst of all the hurt, there's a temptation to disconnect from life. To curl up in a secret place until the pain subsides and the sun dries up all the flood waters. At times, this really is the best course of action. But over the years, I've found there's many cases where the floodwaters don't truly subside, or at least won't without intervention. That sometimes it takes marching out into the rain and working with others to fight off the flood waters.

And most interesting are those who know how to dance in those storms. Encouraging others to puddle jump, laugh at thunder claps and find the beauty in what many deem terrifying.

Over the past year, I've witnessed many beautiful moments during terrifying times. During the 3 weeks Grey was unemployed, I remember fondly the walks we would take in the evenings with the Beats. With our condo crisis, there's been the moments where many have commented that if it wasn't for the wording of the reserve study, they would instantly buy our place as it's been well cared for (which has been shocking to hear). With the heartache of those who have experienced lost has come treasured memories of us bonding over insight into trauma. And there's been love experienced in moments that shines so brightly. Rainbows peaking through the storm clouds.

Make no mistake, my heart is still very heavy. But sometimes the best weapon against those who chose to spread darkness is to celebrate the light. To learn how to dance in the rain, even when the storm is at its worst. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Bringing the struggle to light

It's been a couple of weeks, with me sinking into a dark place as bad news followed bad news. I've been confronting shame and guilt. Fear and uncertainty. Moments where I haven't felt safe talking about them as I didn't want to be a source of pity or judgment.

Slowly, I've been reasoning my way out of this viewpoint. Having inner dialogue about how writing about it all after it's been worked out will only leave me miserable and how the best way to counter shame is confront it head on. Funny how easy this advice is to give and yet to follow.

So here's the skinny: 2 weeks ago Grey and I have an excellent offer on our condo. The two hurdles in front of us was the appraisal and the resale certificate. The appraisal would have come back fine, given what the market has been doing, but the resale certificate stopped us dead in the water. It revealed a potential project the HOA board has been talking about for a number of years with one bid we used for developing a savings plan. And it was that information that caused our buyer to jump ship. It made the property toxic.

I've done a lot of crying and screaming. There have been moments where the anxiety got the better of me. The road ahead is very uncertain, but what has become clear is that those guiding us do so to profit themselves. It's hard not to be bitter about that.

But something else has come out of this. For years, Grey has blamed me for this condo. I pushed hard to purchase it early in our relationship, arguing that it would be a good starter home for us. I never expected the recession or to be locked in as long as we have been. And so he's been very angry with me. Losing this seller and my subsequent meltdown has sparked him to reanalyze all of that. To recognize that things have gone far beyond all that we could controlled and our choices didn't cause this. Hence we been slowly working together to come up with a solution.

Despite this, asking for help has been hard. There's a moment of opening yourself to judgment that is utterly terrifying. That something is wrong inherently with you and you somehow deserve this fate. I've found myself drawing away, becoming more withdrawn. Life seems to pass around me without me being a part of it. It's a weird existence.

All of it has me remembering infertility. Though the empty pit of sadness filling my stomach doesn't exist this time, the anxiety and quiet moments spent running scenarios through my head do. And I'm realizing that the only way to get out of this cycle is to start talking about it.

Mali wrote a post today echoing all of this and another post from Jess about wanting her story told really drove this home. That life isn't about the perfect or finished products that society values. Sure, they're nice and wonderful when they happen, but often it's the messy stuff that sculpts us and makes us into who we ultimately will be.

So as of today, I'm bringing our current struggle to light. Talking about my ongoing struggle to understand construction bids and terminology, figuring out financing for a HOA and trying to determine if we need to terminate contracts with those we've worked with. All this from 3000 miles away and while juggling the rest of life. Planning a coup d'etat has been an interesting experience.

Anyone who has undergone a full reclad project, please feel free to offer sage advice.
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